Seems like each year I start setting my golf goals for the upcoming season earlier and earlier. Although our golf season here in Alberta doesn’t typically start until around April, there are plenty of things that can be done during the winter to get yourself in a position to have a stellar golf season.
The daunting part about a commitment to improve your golf game is that there are no straightforward formulas to do it. You can’t just Google a “couch to scratch” training program. The path to improvement in golf can be long, winding, poorly signed, and sometimes you’re not even sure if you’re in drive or reverse.
This is part of what I love about golf. Success in golf is about so much more than just physical ability, and when you do achieve something, it’s ridiculously satisfying. Particularly in competitive golf, success requires mental toughness, focus, a strong stomach, control of your nerves, the ability to cope with adversity, the ability to overcome fears such as embarrassment, and of course, a relentlessly good attitude.
Looking back on 2016, my goals helped me make some good progress. From beginning to the end of 2016 I reduced my handicap from 5.1 to 3.9. This was higher than my target, but still forward progress.
I was most proud that my best rounds of the year came in competition. I love competition, and the more I experience it the more I crave it. I get goosebumps thinking about walking to the first tee of a competitive match. The nerves, the adrenaline, the tension in the air — I want more of it.
I’m tweaking my goals slightly this season, but my methodology is similar to my 2016 goals — one end-of-season results orientated goal to form the basis of my ongoing process goals.
End of season goal:
Reduce my handicap index from 3.9 to less than 2.0 before the end of the Canadian season. This would be good progress towards the big picture goal of being a scratch golfer.
I won’t be dwelling on my handicap as the season goes, but it’s a source of inspiration to develop my process goals to help me get there. If I stay focused on the process, the handicap will take care of itself.
Pre-season process goals:
- Continue with strength, stability, and speed workouts from DM Golf Performance every second day, along with daily stretching, muscle rolling, and corrective exercises.
- I will see my instructor, Fred Teno, on a regular basis from now until golf season to work on improving my swing and making it more efficient. We want to build a swing I can own and understand on a day-to-day basis. I am pumped for this opportunity. His belief in my ability is a huge boost.
- Create a daily mental game routine. It doesn’t have to be grueling. It’s amazing what 5 minutes a day can do to keep your mind in a good place.
Golf season process goals:
As you all know, golf season can be a busy time. Between getting rounds in, trying not to get fired from my demanding career as an engineer, traveling, and maintaining a social life, it doesn’t always feel like there’s time left to practice and stay fit. While I tend to be ambitious, goals still need to be realistic.
- Maintain strength, stability and speed workouts a minimum of twice per week, and continue with daily stretching, muscle rolling, and corrective exercises.
- Set aside 4 hours per week to practice. 75% of this time on short game. Since I struggled to work on my short game as much as I wanted last year, I may need to incorporate more short game work in my warm-up routine before playing rounds to hit this target.
- Play in at least 5 competitive events — this can include club events such as Club Championships and match play events which don’t implement handicap strokes.
- Incorporate daily mental game training into my routine.
I am hoping that my goals inspire others to set their own goals, whether for golf, their career, or other aspects of life. This is part of the reason for spewing them on my blog, and although I may never know for sure if I achieve this, it still feels worth the effort if there’s a chance it’ll inspire just one person to improve in 2017.
If you’re so inclined, please share your own 2017 goals in the comments section!